Archive for the ‘Operations’ Category

RGB, CMYK, and PMS…The Alphabet of Color

April 15, 2010

One of the more difficult tasks we face when reproducing your printed material is to be certain the color is correct. When we are printing your business stationery, it is critical that the color remains consistent for the first and each subsequent printing. When printing your company brochure or newsletter, the color on the finished piece must conform to your expectations. And if we are printing in full color – especially photographs or food or people’s skin tones – a good color match is essential.

So why is color matching such a problem? The answer lies in a combination of how color is created and how the human eye perceives color.

The Evolution of Modern Printing and Copying

April 14, 2010

In today’s world of easily-accessible ways to reproduce documents, from laser printers on the desktop to high speed copiers, it is interesting to pause and remember a time not too long ago when making a copy took considerably more effort. Back then, printing was distinctly different from copying, both in quality of the reproduction and the effort it took to make the copies.

In this issue of Printips, we’ll recall some of the early machines and technologies that serve as a basis for what has become digital printing. We hope you’ll enjoy reminiscing and perhaps learn something you didn’t know.

Taking the Pain Out of Ordering Printing

April 6, 2010

If you have been reading our newsletter regularly, you have probably noticed that we write a lot about the many technical aspects of printing. There’s a reason for this. We are dedicated to the idea of providing more than printing to our customers. We strive to share our knowledge and experience in a way that will benefit our customers and make the job of placing printing orders smoother.

Generally speaking, our customers can be divided into two groups – those for whom buying printing is an integral part of their job responsibilities, and those who order the printing when necessary. Our technical topics are selected with the first group in mind.

In contrast, this issue of Printips is written specifically for the second group – less technical but more practical and, we hope, useful to all our readers.

Using a PrePress Checklist

April 4, 2010

We’re proud to say that our prepress department is great – experienced professionals who knows all the tricks to make a file print correctly. And one of the tools that makes this possible is not a whiz-bang piece of new software, but a simple form – our prepress check list.

The form is used to collect information about your file and how it will be used, so our prepress department can accurately preflight and prepare the file for output. If you’ve never seen the form before or aren’t aware that we have one, then likely our customer service representatives have been completing the form for you prior to submitting your file to prepress.

It occurred to us that whether or not you actually complete the form, you should understand why we use it and what you can do to help. The more you know about prepress, the more likely your files will pass preflight with flying colors, and complete raster image processing (RIP) without incident. This will speed your files through prepress and produce a better result on press or our digital equipment.

Preflighting: Examining Your Documents

March 27, 2010

When you submit a document file to us, our first step is to examine it in a process we call preflight, a term borrowed from aeronautics. Before beginning a flight, aircraft pilots run through a standard checklist to be sure the plane is airworthy and ready for flight. Similarly, we inspect your file against specific criteria to qualify it as ready to enter the production workflow.

Before prepress became digital, “preflight” consisted of reviewing mechanicals – the artboards used to make film or photomechanical press plates – for quality and completeness. Preflighting a digital file amounts to the same thing: checking the file to be sure all required elements are present and that no mistakes have been made in file assembly. The checking can be done manually or with software tools.

The PDF Workflow: Preparing Documents for Print

March 26, 2010

It has been more than a decade since Adobe announced PDF version 1.0 at Comdex Fall 1992 and won the “Best of Comdex” award. Originally an internal project of Adobe Systems conceived by founder John Warnock, PDF was developed for office communication use so document files could be displayed on any computer using any operating system.

Adobe Acrobat, the tool to create and view PDF files, was first released in June 1993. Early PDF adoption came from the corporate setting, including the Internal Revenue Service, which distributed forms as PDF files. As adoption spread, support for multimedia functionality (adding audio or video data to a PDF document) was added, followed by features needed by the prepress community, then the ability to link PDF files to HTML pages on the Internet. The acceptance of PDF is best indicated by the widespread use of Adobe Reader – by 2003, over 100 million copies had been downloaded from the web.

Seven Keys to Print Buying Success

March 25, 2010

Long ago we learned that our success is directly tied to what our customers think of us compared to the experience of buying from other printers. To make our company distinctive, we’ve invested a lot in developing the technical expertise as well as the customer service skills of our inside and outside sales staff. This enables us to analyze a printing requirement with an eye toward suggesting alternatives or options that will help our customers realize success in buying printing.

Whether you buy printing regularly or occasionally, in this issue of Printips we’ll offer you some keys to successful print buying.

Building Relationships One Job at a Time

March 24, 2010

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – we love our customers. Nothing delights us as much as delivering a quality printed product on time and at the agreed-upon price. In fact, we have set up an entire production management system for the purpose of being the kind of dependable printer that businesses, organizations, and individuals need.

But did you know that you participate with us in the success of your job? Especially when you are providing critical job elements to us – a digital file, copy and photographs, or art direction – you have joined the production team. In case you’ve never thought of your relationship to us in this way, we’d like to let you know what you can expect from us and what we need from you to make your printing project go smoothly.

Fonts: Don’t Let Your Files Leave Home Without Them

March 23, 2010

Ask us or any other printer to name the top five reasons why customer-provided document files fail preflight, and you’ll always have “missing or unusable fonts” on the list. The problem is so common that we’re devoting this issue of Printips to the topic.

Digital font technology Let’s start with a brief overview of digital font technology. You probably know there are two standards for fonts: PostScript and TrueType.

PostScript was originally developed by Adobe and was engineered with two parts to each font – a screen font for rendering characters on a computer monitor and a printer font to direct a PostScript printer how to render the font on paper. In the early days, PostScript fonts gained wide acceptance in the graphic arts community because of superior resolution on output.

The TrueType font format, developed by Apple Computer and later adopted by Microsoft, was designed with the printer font and screen font created from the same information. The font technology also includes a rasterizer; it is the interaction between the font and rasterizer that determines the appearance of the font on paper. Whereas PostScript fonts required a PostScript printer to render correctly, TrueType fonts could be used on any printer. TrueType fonts have been more popular than PostScript in the corporate environment.

It’s Your Choice… Offset or Digital Printing

March 22, 2010

As a printer, our job is to have the right kind of equipment available to produce your printing project. Years ago, being a printer meant having offset printing presses. Today it also means having digital printing equipment and high-speed copiers.

For some printing projects, the choice of which equipment to use is strictly a production consideration – which piece of equipment has an opening in the production schedule at the appropriate time. For other projects, there is only one piece of equipment that can be used. And for yet others, the choice of equipment is a complicated decision based on a variety of factors.

In this issue of Printips, we’ll explore how the technology of each type of equipment helps determine its range of use.